MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — In the latest challenge to Alabama’s ban on gay marriage, a lesbian couple is suing the state over recognition of their marriage, performed in Massachusetts.
April and Ginger Aaron-Brush of Birmingham filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Birmingham.
The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the prohibition on same-sex marriages unconstitutional and require Alabama to recognize same-sex marriages performed validly in other states.
“We are just like everybody else. We are seeking equal justice,” April Aaron-Brush said.
State Attorney General Luther Strange said he will fight the case in court.
“As attorney general, I will vigorously defend the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. That was been the definition of marriage for the history of western civilization, and Alabamians overwhelmingly voted to incorporate it into our laws,” Strange said.
The Alabama Legislature in 1998 approved the Defense of Marriage Act that said Alabama would not recognize same-sex marriages. Alabamians voted in 2006 to put a similar ban in the state constitution.
A separate challenge to Alabama’s ban was filed in February by a Montgomery man whose partner died in a car wreck after they were married in Massachusetts. He wants Alabama to recognize him as the surviving spouse.
A third lawsuit was filed in May and involves a lesbian couple who want their marriage recognized so they can both be legal parents to their son.
The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the couple in the latest case, which focuses on due process and equal protection issues.
“Your marriage status shouldn’t change when you cross state lines,” attorney Wendy Brooks Crew said.
Wednesday will mark the second anniversary of the couple’s marriage in Kingston, Massachusetts, and that played a role in them filing suit.
“We felt it was time for Alabama to get on board with the rest of the country,” Ginger Aaron-Brush said in an interview.
She said April Aaron-Brush is listed as the legal parent of their 7-year-old daughter, but she can’t be listed as a parent because Alabama won’t recognize their marriage.
Their last name is a combination of the maiden names. She said that when April Aaron-Brush went to the driver’s license office to get her name changed on her license, the employees said they couldn’t do what they do routinely for heterosexual brides because Alabama’s ban prevented it.
She said that upset their daughter, who told the employees, “‘My mommy did get married. I was the flower girl at the wedding, and we want the same last name.'”
They ended up getting the name change done in probate court.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)